Can Illinois Sex Assault Charges Land You In Prison For Life?
In our state, there are certain crimes that warrant a life sentence. These crimes are considered Class X felonies. The list of Class X felonies is small, and mainly limited to homicide-related crimes.
However, certain sexual assault charges also make the list, such as aggravated criminal sexual assault. This is the charge that a massage therapist in Evanston is currently facing.
Ken Wang, 31, is employed at the Art of Health Spa. On October 13, he had a 20-year old Evanston woman as a customer. That day, the woman reported to police that during the massage, Wang began to touch her breasts, buttocks, and vagina in an inappropriate manner. The woman alleged that she tried to leave, but Wang grabbed her by the breasts, reached around her, and lifted her off the ground.
Wang was charged on counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse and felony aggravated criminal sexual assault. Sound like serious charges? They are – and could land Wang in prison for a very long time.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and Abuse Charges
Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be charged with sexual assault/abuse, criminal sexual assault/abuse, or aggravated criminal sexual assault/abuse (among other crimes, if minors are involved).
An individual commits sexual assault when he or she sexually penetrates a victim and:
- Uses force or threat of force
- Knows the victim lacks the ability to give consent
- Is related to the victim (and the victim is a minor)
- Holds authority or trust over the victim (if the victim is between the ages of 13-18 and the individual is over the age of 17)
Without sexual penetration, it’s not sexual assault. Instead, the act is considered “sexual abuse.”
If the following happen during the alleged assault or abuse, the charge could be increased to aggravated criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse:
- The individual uses, or threatens to use, a deadly weapon, including a firearm
- The individual is armed with, or discharges, a firearm
- The individual causes bodily harm to the victim
- The individual threatens or endangers the life of the victim
- The individual commits sexual assault while attempting to commit a separate felony
- The victim is over the age of 60, or has a physical or intellectual disability
- The individual administers a controlled substance through force or without the victim’s consent
For a first offense, sexual assault is a class 1 felony. However, if the charge is aggravated criminal sexual assault, it is elevated to a class X felony. A second conviction of any type of sexual assault is also charged as a class X felony.
Class X felonies, even at the least severe level, come with a sentence that includes between 6-30 years in jail per act, and up to $25,000 in fines. Depending on the circumstances, especially the criminal history of the defendant, the sentence could be lengthened to 120 years or life in prison.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a class 2 felony. Even though these charges are less severe, multiple counts could severely hamper your chances of securing a shorter sentence.
What it comes down to is the fact that you have to fight hard if you want to protect your rights and your future. It starts with getting in contact with an experienced Chicago sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible so that you can begin crafting your defense.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.